A wheelchair user says she was left 'humiliated' on a flight after the captain announced that departure was delayed because of her chair

·2 min read
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The woman said the captain repeatedly told passengers that the plane was delayed due to her wheelchair.Anthony Devlin/AFP via Getty Images
  • A disabled woman says she was left "humiliated" on a flight from Bristol to Tenerife, per The BBC.

  • The woman said the captain repeatedly told passengers that the plane was delayed due to her wheelchair.

  • She said that disabled passengers are supposed to board the flight first.

A wheelchair user said she was left 'humiliated' during a flight after the captain repeatedly told passengers that the plane was delayed because of a problem related to her chair, the BBC reported.

The passenger, Geraldine Freeman, was traveling from Bristol in the south west of England to the Spanish island of Tenerife on a Jet2 flight in July when the incident occurred.

Freeman, who uses an electric wheelchair, told the BBC she felt she was treated in a "very undignified way," and that her journey was "embarrassing, uncomfortable, stressful and humiliating."

She said Jet2 partially dismantled her wheelchair in the airport, something that she had never been asked to do on a flight before, and she was not boarded first, going against standard convention when it comes to wheelchair users on planes.

Freeman said that the captain told the other passengers on the plane several times that the flight was delayed due to loading her electric wheelchair.

She told the BBC that flight staff also told her they wouldn't return in the event of an emergency, which she said made her feel like her life "isn't as valuable" as those of other passengers.

A spokesperson for Jet2 told Insider that Freeman's experience was an "isolated incident," and that the company had contacted her to personally apologize. The airline also said it will ensure that additional training takes place to so that the incident is not repeated.

"We recognize that this is not the experience that our customers should expect when traveling with us, so we would like to offer our sincere and profound apologies," the statement said.

In a statement to the BBC, Bristol Airport, where the incident occurred, apologized for the "adverse impression the passenger has gained."

The summer of travel chaos has seen many wheelchair users impacted, with complaints of broken and lost chairs, and poor treatment by airlines.

For instance, Michael Strunk Kristiansen, an Icelandair passenger, told Insider that he was without his custom-made wheelchair for five days after the airline lost it on his flights both to and from New York.

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